Holly Robinson Peete on Autism Acceptance

April 25, 2022

Holly Robinson Peete on Autism Acceptance

In this episode, author and actress Holly Robinson Peete talks about her family’s journey with autism. Holly became a fierce advocate for families like hers after her son R.J. was diagnosed with autism at the age of three.

Holly and R.J. recently collaborated on a picture book, Charlie Makes a Splash! It tells the story of a boy with autism who finds calm and joy playing in water. In the back of the book, Holly shares insights and resources that have helped her family navigate autism.

Holly is the co-founder of the HollyRod Foundation with her husband, former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete. They started the nonprofit in 1997, after Holly’s father, Matt Robinson (the original Gordon on Sesame Street), was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The foundation provides help for families living with Parkinson’s and autism.

Holly is also the author of Same But Different and My Brother Charlie, which won an NAACP Image Award.


Understanding Autism: Knowing the signs can help you help your child. 

5 Great Reads About Autism: Autism awareness and acceptance reach far beyond parents raising children with autism.

Charlie Makes a Splash! Holly’s latest book, a collaboration with her son R.J., will be available on August 2.

Holly Robinson Peete:

“R.J. has become an amazing advocate for himself—and now he’s a published author.”

“There are some hard, cold facts about raising a child with autism…. My husband and I were very stumped. We didn’t have any resources. We didn’t have any books like My Brother Charlie or Charlie Makes a Splash! And we certainly didn’t have any books with back matter and information about our journey and resources.”

“I love that R.J. cares about other kids with autism. It’s probably the most fascinating thing I’ve ever seen…. He can just sort of be around them and understand exactly what they’re feeling and thinking.”

Special Thanks:

Producer: Bridget Benjamin

Associate producer: Constance Gibbs

Sound engineer: Daniel Jordan

Music composer: Lucas Elliot Eberl

Coming Soon:

Understanding SEL • Celebrating AAPI Month With Authors Gita Varadarajan and Debbi Michiko Florence • Alex Gino Talks About Melissa • Aaron Blabey and The Bad Guys

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